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Yowkovi “Routes”

100 National Tourist Sites

Yordan Yovkov’s life is not stormy and full of adventures. His passion for travel is foreign to him. His contemporaries present him as a conservative and settled person who sticks to the family nest and does not like to change his habits. He even prefers to walk the same streets, visit the same cafes, meet a certain circle of people.

However, these facts make the study of Jovkov’s “routes” even more exciting, because very often in them we will discover the curves of his heart. The future writer was born on November 9 /st. style/ 1880 in the village of Zheravna, Kotelsko. He spent his childhood in his native place. Later, he remembers the beautiful songs of his mother Pena Boycheva, the whispers of the koria, the “old mountain” legends. In 1887, he entered the first department of the “Upper School” in the village of Zheravna.

After that – during the academic year 1893/1894 – he was already a student in the city of Ruse. In the following year, he spent many months in work and reflection in the village of Chifutkoi /dn. Yovkovo/, Dobrichko. The Jovkovo family has already moved here. This is the second native home of the writer. In 1896/1897, the young man finished the fourth grade in the city of Kotel, after which he entered one of the most elite educational institutions of that time – the First Sofia Boys’ High School.

There they first discovered his literary talent. His literature teacher Ivan Grozev noticed his student’s abilities and encouraged him. At the turn of the two centuries – in 1900, Yovkov graduated from high school and settled in Dobruja. Became a teacher in the village of Chiflik Musubey /d. Dolen Izvor, Generaltoshevsko/. In 1902–1904, he completed his military service at the School for Reserve Second Lieutenants in Kniazhevo. By his own admission, he is respected in the literature here.

Oriented towards poetry. He wrote poems, some of which he began to publish. On February 13, 1904, he enrolled as a student at the Law Faculty of Sofia University. He was unable to complete even the first semester due to financial reasons. He returned to the village of Chiflik Musubey and from September 1, 1904 he started working as a teacher again. In the academic year 1906/1907, he moved to the village of Sarudzha /d. Rositsa, Dobrichko/, and from the following year he is a teacher in the village of Karaliy /d. Krasen, Generaltoshevsko/. He worked here until the declaration of the Balkan War /1912 /.

On his initiative, a junior high school was established in the village, of which he became the first director in 1909. The teacher Yovkov participated in the work of the Dobrich teachers’ association “Development”, as well as in the creation of Raifaizenova Kasa – a credit agricultural cooperative. The agricultural savings and loan society in the village began to function on January 30, 1908. Yovkov was not only the founder of the society in the village of Karaliy, he was also a correspondent for the magazine “Vzaimnost”. His letters reflect the successes of the rural cooperative. The Dobruja teacher continues to write and publish poems.

The year 1909 was particularly fruitful in this regard, when he published a series of lyrical texts in the well-established magazine “Artist”. In 1910, he created his first work of fiction – the short story “Enchantment Appeal”, with the subtitle “Old Mountain Legend”. From then on, Yovkov permanently focused on fiction. In 1912, the writer was mobilized in the 41st infantry regiment in Burgas. He was appointed commander of the fifth company in the second company. On September 25, 1912, the regiment left for Elhovo. From there – to the village of Hasanbegli /Izgrev/, the village of Shahlii /Knyazhevo/ and again to the village of Hasanbegli.

Then the regiment heads for the village of Kurtalan /Valcha Polyana/. After that, the squad was greeted with joy in the village of Pasakkoy, continued its way through the village of Tasla-Muselim to the village of Provadia, located only 15 km from Edirne. Near the village of Provadia, the commander of the fifth company, Y. Yovkov, had to lead his soldiers into battle for the first time.

In the first battle, the 41st regiment reached the village of Kyuchyuk Dyulyuk, covering 10 km in just two hours. After that, he spent ten days in the trenches near Edirne, after which he was moved in the direction of Lozengrad. On October 24, 1912, he was already in Bunarhisar. In the following days , it passes through the villages of Sarai, Eregli Burku, Dermenköy, Yapaja. After that, Jovkov’s regiment marched to Chorlu, from there it was transferred from Dedeagach to Demirhisar, after which it headed to the town of Seres.

On June 16, 1913, the Inter-Allied War began. The writer is fighting near the Doiran Heights.

Already on June 18, near the village of Smol, he was wounded in the leg. His soldiers carry him 4 km in their arms, then put him on a horse and thus save him. The very next day (June 19) Lieutenant Yovkov left by train from Doiran to Bulgaria. He remains in the bivouac near the village of Kraishte for treatment. After recovering, on August 20, 1913, he arrived in Burgas – where the headquarters of the 41st Infantry Regiment is located; where he goes to war. The circle is closing. At the end of August, Yovkov is already in Sofia. With the help of his high school classmate Grigor Vasilev, the writer managed to find a job as a contributor to Narod i Armiya magazine.

The new collaborator began to publish his stories about the war: “The morning of Memorial Day”, “The first victory”, “Kaipa”, “Ours before Edirne” and a note about the death of Colonel Kavarnaliev. For financial reasons, “People and Army” did not manage to survive for long. For Jovkov’s work, however, the publication played a big role: here the writer published his first works, written under the direct impression of the wars. Again with the help of Gr. Vassilev Yovkov was appointed librarian and editor of the magazine “Review of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Public Health”. He was in this position for only a few months, because at the beginning of September 1915 he was mobilized again. The headquarters of the third company of the newly formed ninth border regiment, in which Lieutenant Yovkov was assigned, is in Dautla. Here the novelist continues to write. Later he combined everything written on the border in the cycle “End of Places”.

On July 10, 1916, he was assigned to the editorial office of “Military Notices” in Sofia. It turns out that there are two military publications – “Military Notices” and “Otechestvo” magazine. Dimitar Podvrazachov, Dobri Nemirov, Elin Pelin, Kiril Hristov and others also cooperated with them. In November 1916, Jovkov, the only one of the collaborators, wished to receive an open letter and be posted to Dobruja, in the cavalry division. The novelist presents his impressions of the Dobrudja front in a new series of military stories: “The Seven”, “Bulgarka”, “The White Squadron”, etc. In 1916-1917, Yovkov lived in Sofia, in the home of Podvarzachov.

At that time, the main part of his military narratives were collected in two volumes. These are the first books published by Yovkov: “Stories. T.1.” and “Stories. T. 2.”. On January 1, 1918, “for time served,” the writer was promoted to the rank of reserve captain. In Sofia, Yovkov met the student from Dobrich, Despina Koleva, who is in her last year at the Faculty of History and Geography of Sofia University. Later, the two decide to get engaged. Therefore, in the fall of 1918, the writer left for Dobrich. On December 15 of the same year, D. Koleva and Y. Yovkov got married in the newlywed’s native house, which is currently turned into a house museum “Y. Yovkov”.

Here the fiction writer began to write his first post-war work – the story “The Reaper”. In the spring of 1919, Yovkov secretly crossed the then border separating Bulgaria from Romania and settled in Varna. At first he was unemployed, but later managed to earn a living temporarily as a delegate of the Commission for Refugees. In the summer of 1919, Jovka’s wife Despina also arrived in Varna. In October, their only child was born – their daughter Elka. In November 1919, the writer was dismissed due to layoffs. Only in December did he find work again – as an educator in the Dobrudzhan Boarding School. He remained in this position until September 23, 1920, after which he was appointed a regular printing assistant at the Bulgarian Legation in Bucharest. In 1920, the story “The Reaper” was published in Sofia, which was written mainly in the city of Varna. The Jovkovi family lived in the Romanian capital from 1920 to 1927.

This was a particularly fruitful period for the fiction writer. He created a number of short stories that were included in the collections “Last Joy” / 1926; later renamed to “Song of the Wheels”/, “Old Mountain Legends” /1927/ and “Evenings at the Antimov Inn” /1928 /. The last book was published when the Jovkovi family had already returned to Bulgaria, to Sofia.

The last ten years of the novelist’s life were spent in the capital /1927–1937 /. His next works were also created here: the dramas “Albena”, “Boryana”, “Ordinary Man” and the comedy “The Millionaire”; the collections “A Woman’s Heart” /1935/ and “If They Could Talk” /1936/; the novels “The Homestead on the Border” /1934/ and the unfinished “The Adventures of Gorolomov” /1938 /. On September 19, 1937, Yovkov left for treatment in Hisarya.

Here, however, his health deteriorated sharply. He was urgently admitted to the Catholic Hospital in Plovdiv, where he died on October 15, 1937. This was the last point of the writer’s life “routes”. Yovkov was buried in Sofia. A stone cross was placed on his grave – the work of the famous sculptor Ivan Lazarov. This is the end of the physical path of the writer. Henceforth is eternity; the immortality of his books. And the modern reader is faced with the challenge of wandering through the labyrinth of Jovkov’s work and trying to find his path in it.

On the eve of the 125th anniversary of the novelist’s birth, it is useful to remember that there are two places in Bulgaria that keep the “memory” of Yovkov – his birth house in Zheravna, which has been turned into a museum, and a house museum with a house-monument “Y . Yovkov” in Dobrich. It is no coincidence that the writer’s museum in Dobrich is one of the hundred national tourist sites. It is a place of pilgrimage for many Bulgarians. And the tour of the so-called “Yovkovi mesta” is also a spiritual journey along the path of hope.

Work time:
Opening hours:
winter opening hours 1.10-30.04: 8.30-12.30 and 1.30-17.300;
weekends and holidays;
summer working hours 01.05-30.09: 9.00 – 13.00 and 14.00-18.00;

Entrance tickets:
Entrance fee per object:
adults – BGN 3.00,
children, schoolchildren, students – BGN 1.00,
family ticket – BGN 4.00.

Entrance fee within the tourist route:
adults – BGN 6.00,
children, schoolchildren, students – BGN 2.00,
family ticket – BGN 10.00.

Entrance fee for participation in educational programs – BGN 2.

in Bulgarian – BGN 5.00,
in a foreign language – BGN 10.00.

address: Dobrich, G.Gurko St. No. 4
Phone: 058/ 602 213, 0884311492.

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